Saturday, October 31, 2020

XFINITY / TRUCKS: Josh Reaume pulls last-place doubleheader at Martinsville; Bohn and Yeley stage impressive rallies

PHOTOS: Josh Reaume Facebook Page, thanks @StartAndParkCar and Nick Teresky

Josh Reaume picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series career in Friday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at the Martinsville Speedway when his #00 Levrack Chevrolet failed to complete any of the 200 laps due to transmission issues.

The finish, which came in Reaume’s 51st series start, was his first of the season and first since March 29, 2019 at Texas, 40 races ago, where he also didn’t complete a lap. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 7th for the #00, the 37th for transmission issues, and the 398th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 41st for the #00, the 167th for transmission issues, and the 1,754th for Chevrolet.

The next day, Reaume also scored the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday’s Draft Top 250 at the Martinsville Speedway when his turn in the #93 Colonial Countertops Chevrolet ended after 62 of 250 laps because of suspension issues.

This finish, which came in Reaume’s 35th series start, was his first of the season and first since June 19, 2016 at Iowa, 150 races ago. In the XFINITY Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 21st for suspension issues, the 44th for the #93, and the 560th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 45th for suspension problems, the 94th for the #93, and the 1,755th for Chevrolet.

Coming into Martinsville, Reaume was vocal in his outrage at ThorSport driver Ben Rhodes. On the final lap of last week’s Truck Series race at Texas, Rhodes made contact with Reaume’s #00 Texas Mobile Radiology Chevrolet, driven by Josh Bilicki. The contact, which Rhodes blamed on another driver, sent both Rhodes and Bilicki into the outside wall, dropping Bilicki from inside the Top 15 to 19th. Reaume demanded a new truck from the ThorSport shop – or at least a meal for his team as they worked to piece #00 back together – but according to Reaume, nobody from the team reached out to him all week.

The Reaume Brothers Racing team began the year with a strong 10th-place finish with Jason White in the Daytona opener, then scaled back from three entries to two after the team’s #34 last ran at the Homestead weekend in June. Reaume elected to drive on the Virginia short track in his primary #33 and put B.J. McLeod in the #00. By Friday, the two switched rides, putting Reaume in the #00 and McLeod in the #33. Reaume was set to start 31st, but both he and McLeod would have to drop to the rear for swapping rides.

The teammates would take last from Parker Kligerman, who would roll off 37th in Charlie Henderson’s #75 Food Country USA Chevrolet, then rejoin the NBC broadcast team on pit road the following day. Norm Benning would also drop to the rear voluntarily in his #6 H&H Transport Chevrolet, surrendering the 34th starting spot. But by the time this happened, Reaume already had issues.

During the pace laps, Reaume reported he had clutch issues, then stopped on the track. “Dead in the water,” he said over the radio. As the tow truck pushed Reaume to pit road, the crew tried to get brake fluid from another team. The truck then pushed Reaume to the garage near Pit Stall #10, where the team missed the start. Under the noise from the track, the team struggled to hear their driver on the radio, telling him to press the clutch pedal as they added more fluid. “I don’t know what to tell you,” said Reaume on Lap 15. “It’s not engaging the transmission.” The next time by, the team had their tires transferred to McLeod, who would go on to finish 22nd.

By Lap 26, Reaume’s truck was on two jack stands, and was talking about putting it on four so the team could take a closer look at the linkages. On Lap 33, he tried to shift the truck into reverse, and then said they needed to pull the transmission and count the splines. The team didn’t have a backup transmission on hand for either of their trucks, and would have to get one from another team. Reaume was also concerned that they would be retired from the race if he climbed from the truck – the team got confirmation on Lap 41 that he could climb out and keep working.

Work continued until Lap 108, when Reaume’s team said “in 11 laps they can’t catch anybody.” NASCAR’s official in the garage then confirmed Reaume was out on Lap 139, announcing it at the same time as others in the Bottom Five. Reaume tweeted a picture of the clutch near the end of the race, showing that the splines had been sheared away.

Finishing 36th was Tate Fogleman, whose #02 Solid Rock Carriers rear-ended another truck past the halfway point. Playoff contender Austin Hill saw his title hopes go up in smoke when he started losing power, then blew the engine after 117 laps, leaving him 35th in the #16 AISIN Group Toyota. Codie Rohrbaugh pulled behind the wall on Lap 133, ending the evening for the #9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet due to overheating issues. Rounding out the group was Spencer Davis, whose #11 Polar Bear Coolers Toyota lost the brakes after 135 laps.

For the second-straight fall race at Martinsville, Danny Bohn scored a top-ten finish with the On Point Motorsports team, taking a career-best 7th in the #30 North American Motor Car / Blue Buffalo Toyota. This run was particularly impressive as he suffered significant damage to his truck in the first 45 laps, but clawed his way back into the Top 15 by the middle stages.

Behind Bohn, Austin Wayne Self scored the second-straight top-ten finish of his Truck Series career, following up a 7th in Texas with a 9th at Martinsville. Carson Hocevar finished 9th in Stage 2 driving Al Niece’s #42 Scott’s / GM Parts Now Chevrolet and even led 5 laps by staying out on old tires late in the race. He was then spun at least twice, but still recovered to finish 13th, one spot shy of his career-best this year at Dover. Dawson Cram scored the best finish for his new #41 team, taking 16th in his #41 Magnum Contracting Chevrolet, tied for his third-best finish in the series.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #00 in a Truck Series race since September 29, 2012, when Clay Greenfield’s #00 Obregon Construction Ford, fielded by Rick Lind, fell out with overheating issues after 3 laps of the Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas. The number had never before finished last in a Truck Series race at Martinsville.

37) #00-Josh Reaume / 0 laps / transmission
36) #02-Tate Fogleman / 115 laps / crash
35) #16-Austin Hill / 117 laps / engine
34) #9-Codie Rohrbaugh / 123 laps / overheating
33) #11-Spencer Davis / 135 laps / brakes

1st) Reaume Brothers Racing (5)
2nd) Niece Motorsports (3)
3rd) CMI Motorsports, DGR-Crosley, Norm Benning Racing, ThorSport Racing (2)
4th) FDNY Racing, Halmar Friesen Racing, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, Spencer Davis Motorsports, Young’s Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (14)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Toyota (3)


The Truck Series race was the beginning of a double-header for Josh Reaume, who also took on an associate role with RSS Racing’s XFINITY Series #93 Chevrolet back on June 29th of this year. While helping Myatt Snider in his part-time effort with the team, Reaume would also get a shot running the car at Martinsville. It would be just the second XFINITY start for Reaume in 2020, following up a 33rd-place finish after issues on Mike Harmon’s #47 GPs Tab Chevrolet earlier this month in Kansas. Just as he had on the Truck Series side, Reaume would start 31st, but would drop to the rear for a driver change as Jeff Green was in the #93 on the preliminary entry list. Kyle Weatherman would also surrender 33rd in Reaume’s previous ride, the #47 Chevrolet. 

Reaume and Weatherman would take 39th and last from J.J. Yeley, who brought Rick Ware Racing’s #17 team back to the XFINITY Series for the first time since Cody Ware’s career-best run at the Charlotte “Roval.” Yeley’s #17 WorkPro Ford looked decidedly different from the flagship Fords run by Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric – it resembled either a first-generation Ford Mustang from 2010 or was a current Chevrolet Camaro with Ford decals applied. “Let’s have some fun,” the team told him before the start.

When Saturday’s race started, Reaume took over last place until Lap 2, when Gray Gaulding’s #07 Panini America Chevrolet suddenly lost power in Turn 2. Gaulding reported his “something was messed up” during the pace laps, and the caution fell for him to get a push. The team talked about going to the garage and changing batteries, but the car fired up again, two laps down. The driver was then told to hit the “reset” on Lap 6, at which point it seemed to be running normally.

Next to join the last-place battle was Chad Finchum, whose #61 American Dream Toyota lost a lap by the eighth circuit, and was two down by Lap 13. The Mike Harmon Racing teammates then found trouble – first Kyle Weatherman, who dropped to 37th, nearly two seconds back of the next car in front, then Bayley Currey, who after contact from Joe Graf, Jr. cut a left-front tire and hit the wall in Turn 4 driving the #74 You Are Not Alone Chevrolet. Currey took over last place on Lap 25, just as NASCAR declared minimum speed was set at 23.80 seconds. Currey met minimum speed when he rejoined the field.

On Lap 38, Gaulding re-took the last spot from Currey. Five laps earlier, he’d spun out in a chain-reaction incident with Stefan Parsons and Colby Howard. This caused the #07 to stall once again, and he lost a fourth lap to the leaders before he started rolling again. By Lap 43, Gaulding, Currey, and Finchum were all on the same lap, each occupying the final three spots. Finchum took over last on Lap 53, then reported he had dropped a valve. But as Finchum tried to keep going, Reaume pulled behind the wall on Lap 65. Three laps later, he took last from Finchum, and would remain there for the rest of the race. NASCAR didn’t officially declare Reaume out until Lap 88.

Finchum, Currey, and Gaulding would ultimately finish 37th, 36th, and 35th, respectively – out with an engine failure, a second crash, and electrical problems. Rounding out the group in 38th was Matt Mills, whose #5 J.F. Electric Chevrolet caught fire down the backstretch with a ruptured oil line.

After starting last in the aforementioned Rick Ware entry, Yeley had a spirited run in the early laps, changing tires on Lap 27 and charging up to 13th at the end of Stage 1. He stayed out to lead Stage 2, but was spun in traffic while battling among the leaders. He then rallied a second time and took 14th, backing up Cody Ware’s breakout 7th-place run on the “Roval.”

Behind Yeley, Tommy Joe Martins took 16th, his third finish of 16th or better in the last four races driving his #44 AAN Adjusters / Capital City Towing Chevrolet. Timmy Hill conceded the 2020 LASTCAR XFINITY Series Championship to Stephen Leicht, who wasn’t entered, after Hill finished 17th in the #13 Toyota – his fourth Top 20 in the last seven races. And Mason Diaz made good use of his first XFINITY start of the year, steering Sam Hunt Racing’s #26 Prince William Marina Toyota to a 20th-place finish in his first-ever start with the team.

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #93 in an XFINITY Series race at Martinsville.
*The 62 laps Reaume completed set a new record for the most laps completed by a last-place finisher of a XFINITY race at Martinsville – in fact, it beats it by just one lap. The previous record of 61 laps was set by Joe Thurman on March 10, 1991.

39) #93-Josh Reaume / 62 laps / suspension
38) #5-Matt Mills / 103 laps / oil line
37) #61-Chad Finchum / 120 laps / engine
36) #74-Bayley Currey / 178 laps / crash
35) #07-Gray Gaulding / 230 laps / electrical

1st) Motorsports Business Management (9)
2nd) JR Motorsports (4)
3rd) Joe Gibbs Racing, Mike Harmon Racing (3)
4th) JD Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, RSS Racing, Shepherd Racing Ventures, SS-Green Light Racing (2)
4th) B.J. McLeod Motorsports, Jeremy Clements Racing, Kaulig Racing, Our Motorsports (1)

1st) Chevrolet (20)
2nd) Toyota (12)


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